Schauenstein castle ruin is one of the most beautiful ruins in Lower Austria. Situated on a steeply sloping foothill of the 606 m high Buchberg, it offers a great view of the Kamptal. The castle was built by the Babenbergs in the 12th century as a bulwark against the invasions of Bohemia. In 1622, the Kuefsteiners succeeded after many difficulties to acquire Schauenstein. The castle sustained heavy damage in the turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), probably by the Swedes. The pentagonal 30-meter-high keep, as well as the Palas remained. Next to the keep was the kitchen, whose storeroom is still preserved. On the right side you come to a balustrade. From here you see the river Kamp.
The legend of Schauenstein castle ruin
It is said that the name of the castle originates at this balustrade. Schauenstein literally translates into “looking stone”. According to a legend the castle’s lord had a beautiful daughter, who was coveted by two neighbors, namely the Lichtenfelser and the Hartensteiner. After the daughter had opted for the Lichtenfelser, the Hartensteiner was angry and besieged the castle. When he was finally able to break through the main gate, the maiden climbed on her horse and galloped across the balustrade over the river Kamp. The Hartensteiner could do nothing but look after her riding over to the other side of the gorge. Hence the name Schauenstein.
The key to Schauenstein Castle Ruin
Since 1987 the castle ruin has been renovated so that entering the ruin is possible at any time. In addition, the keep was expanded to a lookout. As mentioned, the keep can be climbed free of charge. However, it is kept locked. The key is provided to visitors in the hotel “Wegscheidhof” in Wegscheid or in the inn “Speneder” in Altpölla. You can reach the ruin Schauenstein on foot only. From the parking lot at the southern end of Krug village it’s about 800 m up to the castle ruins. From Altpölla you can reach the ruins in one hour (4 km). From the ruin a path leads down to the river Kamp, where you can hike along. Overall, the Kamptal between Rosenburg and Wegscheid is characterized by almost untouched nature and various ruins.
Further information on Wikipedia (German).